President approves bill to smoothen reconstruction of dilapidated buildings in Mumbai

President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to three state bills, including a legislation which will smoothen the process of reconstructing dilapidated buildings or a complex of buildings in land-starved Mumbai

The Maharashtra Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2017 have received the president’s nod, a home ministry official has said. The Maharashtra Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, will facilitate reconstruction of old and dilapidated buildings, especially in Mumbai, by allowing ‘majority consent of the owners, instead of unanimous consent’.

There are hundreds of buildings in Mumbai, which could not be redeveloped as not all the flat owners have given their consent, leading to fear of building collapse and other problems. According to the new legislation, the consent of 51 per cent of the residents will be required, for reconstruction or repair of old and dilapidated buildings, the official said.

The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2017, seek to amend the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, enacted in 1960. The purpose of these legislations, is to ensure that land surrounded by factories but unsuitable for farming and lying unused, can be given to the industries which are keen on expanding operations. A provision in the 2017 bill allows the allotment of land to such industries, which will be required to make available equivalent quantum of land, in lieu of land given to them by the government.

See also: Mumbaikars take up self-redevelopment of old apartments

The old Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, 1960 restricted a person from owning agricultural land beyond a certain limit and it also empowered the government to acquire surplus land from such owners. The key purpose of Act was to bring parity, as the government could allot such land acquired from influential people, to those who did not have agricultural land.

The first bill was proposed when prime minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat. The then UPA government at the centre had rejected and returned it to the state. The opposition Congress in Gujarat, had also opposed it in 2015, saying the amendments to the bill defeated the purpose of the original Act of 1960.


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